There are some big differences between the Ford F-150 Lightning and Chevy Silverado EV. The big one? Chevy’s truck is not only on a new platform, but it features a midgate at the rear of the cab. At this point, it’s unclear whether the Blue Oval’s more conventional truck or Chevy’s new kid will win the favor of the masses. However, thanks to a Ford patent application published this month, we know the Dearborn, Michigan, automaker is also investigating a midgate for a potential future pickup.
The application was filed in December 2020, although it was published June 9. Titled “PIVOTABLE CAB BACK ASSEMBLY FOR A VEHICLE AND CAB BACK ASSEMBLY PIVOTING METHOD,” it details a midgate that’s for more than just extending a truck’s bed area. It can also act as a support for camping accessories and even another work surface.
Before we begin, it’s worth noting the vehicles automakers use in patent imagery are just sort of random. This truck isn’t something Ford will build, at least from an aesthetic standpoint. It’s just a model meant to show off the hinged midgate, which is already hinting at one of its functions above. As well as allowing for the aforementioned longer bed area, the gate could also fold out flat once deployed, creating a quasi-roof for some shade, or to keep dry. In fact, Ford takes this theme even further in other images.
Below, you can see the full extent of the Blue Oval’s midgate ambitions. The structure is not just used as a roof extension, it’s used to support a tent that spans much of the vehicle’s length. The automaker claims: “The passenger compartment, the cargo bed, or both could then be utilized by users for sleeping and relaxing while the users are covered by the tent.” It continues, “The seats, in some examples, can be turned so that a user seated in the seat faces rearward.” That essentially results in an instant overlanding lounge, and yes, of course, there are pictures.
If this seems like a lot, it’s actually just one of the ideas Ford has for this midgate, the second segment of which seems to be capable of tilting to one angle, as seen above, or the opposite angle, as you’ll see below. This is because Ford sees the midgate as a good spot to put a work surface.
This work surface would be positioned on the outside of the truck when it’s not in use, so it would be exposed to the elements. That’s not ideal for what the automaker has in mind to put there unless a bed cap is used. In the patent imagery, a chop saw is displayed mounted to this surface which can pivot up when in use. The gate also has electrical outlets on it, which would be handy for plugging in tools or camping-related accessories.
Ford doesn’t reference whether this truck would be electric, but in theory, these are ideas that can be applied to a model with or without an internal combustion engine. Indeed, Ford simply seems most concerned with maximizing the utility of its utility vehicles. It has previously applied for patents on a slew of other unique ideas like a roof-mounted chair, screen doors for the Bronco, and accessories like ladders that mount up to the door strikers. That’s not to mention the frunkotainment system for the F-150 Lightning.
Whether this will actually make it onto a truck is unknown. Patent designs don’t necessarily indicate a statement of intent to produce something on the part of an automaker; sometimes they just want to protect an idea. That being said, this midgate scheme is an interesting one, and something Chevy certainly should be keeping its eye on.
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